With no walls to obstruct light or views, open-plan spaces usually have a great sense of flow. But large rooms demand just as much care in the planning as small spaces. The working part of the kitchen in particular needs to function ergonomically. Where possible, adhere to the classic work triangle between sink, fridge and hob to cut down on footwork, using an island to help shorten these distances where necessary. White hi-gloss units work perfectly in this modern open-plan, monochrome scheme. When it comes to style, built-in stainless-steel appliances have a professional look, while fully integrated models are concealed behind matching cabinet doors for a streamlined effect. Consider noise levels and looks when choosing appliances, and look for appliances with decibel levels under 39dB. Keep worktops clear and hide clutter away with clever storage solutions.
If you're planning a larger refit or build, you may also need Planning Permission or Building Regulations approval. Visit the Planning Portal (planningportal.gov.uk) for further information. Often your budget will dictate how much project management is needed. If you're buying off the shelf from a DIY store you'd expect to have to employ and co-ordinate an variety of craftsmen including builders, plumbers and electricians. A number of mid-price kitchen companies provide fitting services but often you'll have to get them to liaise with other trades for work outside their fitting remit. Always check with your kitchen company at the start about which services they can and can't provide. Even many bespoke companies will not undertake first-fit electrics or plumbing so you will have to co-ordinate these elements yourself. Some of the high-end bespoke companies do offer ‘turn key' services, where they will co-ordinate all building plumbing and electrical work but be prepared to pay a premium for this service.
Paying attention to sight lines, traffic flow and entry and exit points at the planning stage is paramount. One of the most popular kitchen layouts, the L-shape is great for multipurpose spaces, neatly keeping the work zone restricted to one area and the rest of the space free. In a small kitchen an L shape is ideal as it concentrates all storage and appliances into two sides of the room, leaving the others free and open, so making the overall space seem bigger. Keep the colours on the lighter side so it doesn't appear too cramped. A mixture of cabinets and drawers makes housing pans, pots and general paraphernalia a breeze, while Kilner jars display pretty condiments and dried food to perfection.
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